Saturday, 15 June 2024

Man convicted of 1986 murder denied parole

LAKE COUNTY – A former Kelseyville resident found guilty of the 1986 murder of his ex-wife's boyfriend and assaulting his teenage stepson with a firearm was denied parole in a May 4 hearing.


Chief Deputy District Attorney Richard Hinchcliff appeared at the parole hearing for Richard Cruz, 59, at the California State Prison in Solano, where. Hinchcliff said he argued against granting parole.


Cruz was sentenced on June 8, 1987, to 33 years to life for the first-degree murder of Michael Koschik and assault with a firearm on a teenage boy.


Hinchcliff reported that the investigation found that Cruz and his wife of seven years, Beverly Cruz, had separated in 1985 and divorced in July 1986 because of Richard Cruz’s excessive alcohol abuse and problems with violence.


At the time of the murder, Beverly Cruz was living with Michael Koschik at a residence on Bell Hill Road in Kelseyville, along with her three children – the youngest of which was Cruz's biological child – and Koschik’s two children, according to Hinchcliff. The five children were between the ages of 7 and 16.


In May of 1986, Beverly Cruz obtained a restraining order against her ex-husband because of his ongoing threats and harassment, including an incident where he damaged Koschik’s truck, Hinchcliff reported. Between June and September of 1986 Cruz violated the restraining order several more times, and in September of 1986 he resisted arrest when deputies arrested him for violating the order.


Investigators interviewed several witnesses who stated that Cruz had made several threats to harm or kill Beverly Cruz and Michael Koschik prior to the murder, according to Hinchcliff.


Then, on the afternoon of Nov. 16, 1986, Cruz drove to Koschik’s Bell Hill Road home with a .357 revolver and a box of ammunition, Hinchcliff reported. Beverly Cruz, Koschik and the five children were all home, having just returned home from a sports banquet for one of the children.


When Cruz pulled up in front of the house, Koschik walked out on the front porch, according to Hinchcliff's report. Cruz got out of his truck with the gun and approached with the gun pointed at Koschik. As Koschik started to back up and turn to go back into the house, Cruz shot Koschik four times from a distance of about 12 feet while several of the children watched.


One of Cruz’s teenage stepsons, afraid that Cruz was there to kill the entire family, retrieved a shotgun, loaded it and shot Cruz as he was reloading the handgun, Hinchcliff's report noted. Cruz then fired at least two shots at his stepson.


Koschik died at the scene, Hinchcliff said.


At the parole hearing, Hinchcliff advised the parole commissioners that due to the callousness and brutality of the crime, Cruz’s violent history and the devastation caused to so many young children, Cruz should never be paroled under any circumstances.


Three of the children who were present at the murder, all of them now adults, were present at the hearing to ask that Cruz not be released, Hinchcliff reported.


The commissioners denied Cruz parole, and set his next parole hearing in five years, the maximum denial time allowed by law, Hinchcliff noted. Cruz's next parole hearing will be in 2012.


E-mail Elizabeth Larson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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